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Pixie Ninja - 2017 - "Ultrasound"

(37:51, Apollon Records)


TRACK LIST:                  

1. Auditory Hallucinations 9:13
2. Elusive the Wind Vane 6:44
3. Une Promenade 2:37
4. Polysomnographic 5:30
5. Personal Improvement Cult 11:19
6. Ultrasound 2:56


Jostein Haugen - guitars, bass, keyboards, glockenspiel, other instruments
Marius Leiraanes - guitars, bass, keyboards, glockenspiel, other instruments
Mattias Olsson - drums, Mellotron, other instruments
Ketil Vestrum Einarsen - flute

Prolusion. Norwegian band PIXIE NINJA is the creation of Jostein Haugen and Marius Leiraanes, musicians that have worked together in various bands going back to 2008. The work on the Pixie Ninja project started in 2015, and in 2017 their debut album "Ultrasound" was released through Norwegian label Apollon Records.

Analysis. One of the aspects of progressive rock that is so amazing for fans of music is that this is a genre that by definition do not have any borders. Your own creativity will be the border you face whenever you create music, and even that border may well be crossed if you allow someone else to expand on your core material. Pixie Ninja is one of those projects that documents these dimensions rather nicely I'd suggest. One aspect of this is the core sounds developed by partners Haugen and Leiraanes. They know their progressive rock all right, and appears to be familiar with multiple aspects of it. From the more careful, cosmic escapades closer to ambient music through to more energetic electronic excursions not all that far removed from the likes of Tangerine Dream and onto to majestic layered keyboard arrangements with guitar support in more of a traditional progressive rock manner, perhaps even with symphonic intent at that. They also toss and turn, mix and blend these aspects into creations of a less defined and definable nature, with dark booming bass guitar, haunting undercurrents and shimmering overlays of various kinds. With the glockenspiel used to good effect as a provider of gentle melody and rhythm elements to boot. These landscapes are then further expanded when producer Mattias Olsson got involved, his brilliant rhythms and tasteful addition of Mellotron layers further enriching and elevating the total experience, and also adding an emphasis on this material being of a nature rather hard to pigeonhole into one a specific context. Not as much a case of trying to fit a square into a circle as it is of depicting an entity existing in six dimensions on a two dimensional board. Darkness and light are very much present, as coexisting entities as well as forces at odds with each other. The landscapes explored are beautiful but unnerving, barren yet fruitful, clinical yet warm. Eclectic instrumental progressive rock with half a foot inside the electronic part of this universe, another half inside more conventional progressive rock territories, and God knows where that second foot has been placed.

Conclusion. Pixie Ninja is one of those bands whose assembled creative forces transports them into landscapes and realms not all that often explored by others. The material is instrumental, and features a liberal amount of electronic and conventional electric instruments, drawing in impulses from multiple parts of the progressive rock spectrum into a cohesive and rather adventurous whole. A band to seek out for those who tend to enjoy captivating, adventurous progressive rock of the kind that exists outside of the proverbial box.

Progmessor: September 28th, 2017
The Rating Room

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Pixie Ninja


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